Disabled individuals are a significant presence in American society. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 19% of Americans, or over 56 million people, have some form of disability. Unfortunately, many of those who are born with or develop a disability in their lifetime are more likely to suffer financial hardship than many other Americans. Those with disabilities are twice as likely to be poor. For these individuals, a bit of help at the right time can make a life-changing difference.
The Federal government, state governments, and many private charities recognize the unique hardships experienced by disabled Americans and offer help. The common goal of all disability grants is the betterment of the life of the recipient. Grantors recognize that financial support can make a significant difference for individuals looking for housing, attempting to acquire an education, seeking medical care, and many other areas necessary for living and surviving in the United States. Because grants are gifts, recipients never have the stress of having to find a way to pay back what they have received.
You may have heard of grants that help with medical costs, schooling, counseling, or equipment. Locating programs for which you or a family member may be eligible can be difficult and time-consuming, and you still have to face the application and submission of required documents.
Grants involve an application process. To determine an individual’s eligibility, grantors request information from applicants in the form of an application. Most applications are now available online, although you may need to apply in person for some forms of assistance for disabled individuals.
Whether an individual was born disabled or became so later in life, they may qualify for funding to help with personal needs, housing, medical equipment, or financing for other endeavors. Some programs may be specifically for the disabled, and disabled individuals often receive priority for benefit programs serving a broader population.
Government grants cover a wide range of disabilities, including many different physical and mental conditions that make it impossible for an individual to retain employment. Disability.gov provides accurate, current information. The site has links to connect you to information about benefits, rights, housing, and other options.
One major resource is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI has eligibility requirements, such as having worked sufficient hours in the past ten years, having a medical condition that meets the Social Security definition of a disability, and being unable to work for a year or more. You can apply online at the Social Security Administration website.
The advantage of SSDI is that it is not a one-time grant like many given by private foundations. It is a benefit that continues until you can return to work. The funding is not specified for schooling, equipment or any other single purpose and may be used to meet any financial obligation.
Disabled individuals may find benefit from the Ticket to Work Program, which is also administered by the Social Security Administration. This program helps those who are disabled or those who are returning to work after suffering from a disability. Acceptance into the program means that individuals do not have to face losing disability assistance when they first start back to work. Individuals can continue healthcare benefits and do not need to go through a medical continuing disability review. For more information, visit Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work Program website.
Grantors recognize that many disabled people can work and want to work. However, the challenges that accompany the disability can make it difficult to function in a traditional workplace. For this reason, grants are available through the US Department of Labor to help the disabled achieve self-sufficiency by pursuing entrepreneurship. Visit The Department of Labor website to learn more and apply.
Housing grants are handled through the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Low-income individuals with a disability may be eligible for vouchers, rental assistance, mortgage assistance or modification to an existing dwelling to allow for accessibility.
Disabled individuals may also be able to obtain a housing grant through the HUD Certain Developments Vouchers. HUD explains that these vouchers serve “non-elderly families having persons with disabilities who do not currently receive housing assistance in certain developments where owners establish preferences for or restrict occupancy to, elderly families, to obtain affordable housing.” Assistance through this program comes from your local Public Housing Authority (PHA), which receives funding from the Federal government for projects directly for disabled individuals. Eligible applicants should contact their local PHA for assistance.
The Non-Elderly Disabled (NED) Vouchers are also a great option for individuals who need housing assistance. These vouchers are a special program that exists within the Section 8 Housing Voucher program and prioritizes individuals with disabilities who are not also elderly.
Nonprofit organizations have rallied to provide funding for individuals with disabilities. Much of the funding comes from foundations devoted to a specific differentiation such as blindness, autism, or sensory impairment. Like government grants, private awards are secured through an application process. Grantors want to know that the money is used judiciously for their designated cause and that recipients truly deserve help.
For more on grants for the disabled
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1. “Nearly 1 in 5 People Have a Disability in the U.S.” . Census.gov
2. “Why Disability And Poverty Still Go Hand In Hand 25 Years After Landmark Law” . NPR.org
3. “Non-Elderly Disabled Vouchers” . Portal.HUD.gov